313 Coast Guard personnel infected
At least 313 Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) personnel providing assistance to returning overseas Filipino workers and locally stranded individuals (LSIs) in Manila have been found positive for the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
PCG commandant Vice Adm. George Ursabia said that out of the 313 infected personnel, 83 had already recovered based on their latest swab test results. He did not provide a more detailed breakdown of the cases, which were considerably larger compared to the 54 reported within the agency in June.
Ursabia added that most of those found positive had no symptoms. “Nevertheless, we are regularly checking their condition to ensure that they recuperate well,” he said.
Swab tests are also being conducted among their front-line workers who are being provided with vitamins, personal protective equipment (PPE) suits and medical supplies for everyday use, he said.
On top of this, they are being given “rest periods and work breaks, as well as debriefing sessions to sustain their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health while protecting the Filipino people against COVID-19,” Ursabia added.
The PCG has also intensified safety and hygiene measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus among its personnel.
All regional offices have likewise been directed to extend their safety measures now that the PCG has reopened its recruitment process to aspiring Coast Guard officers this month with applicants required to undergo regular body temperature checks, wear PPE suits and practice physical distancing. In a statement, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said that some of those who contracted the virus had been “deployed to assist OFWs and LSIs, [as well] as maritime stakeholders, including fishermen, ship crew and cargo truck drivers.”
Personnel of the PCG, which is one of the DOTr’s attached agencies, have been among the most visible front-liners amid the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 100 Coast Guard medics conduct swab tests on returning OFWs at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and Palacio de Manila Testing Center.
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